During a Houston radio appearance Sunday, Will Lyles responded to accusations that he steered former Texas high school football recruit Lache Seastrunk to Oregon in exchange for a $25,000 payment from the school.
In an interview with KCOH-AM’s Craig Shelton (audio above), Lyles said that the University of Texas was the driving force behind a “well-staged” media campaign designed to discredit him. A campaign Lyles told Shelton was originated, “when I didn’t want to steer kids their [Texas] way.”
Of the University of Texas football program Lyles said, “they thought they lost out on kids [because of Lyles]” and that “Lache Seastrunk [of Temple, Texas] is the kid that was in question about Oregon.”
Here’s an excerpt of the exchange between Lyles and Shelton on KCOH-AM (1430) on June 19, 2011:
Lyles: I felt that it [media campaign to discredit Lyles] was brought about in a very meticulous manner and it was very well staged and set up.
Shelton: Staged and set up by whom?
Lyles: By the University of Texas.
Lyles: Because they did not want to see me in recruiting. First off, they thought they lost out on kids ..
Shelton: [Interrupts Lyles] Give me a name, give me a kid ..
Lyles: Lache Seastrunk is the kid that was in question about Oregon. They’re [University of Texas] trying to say basically that the kid signed there because I got paid $25,000 [by Oregon, so] I persuaded the kid to sign there.
Shelton: So this is the problem about the $25,000?
Lyles: Right. That’s the problem about the $25,000. They [Texas] are trying to say that basically I influenced that kid to go to that university.
Shelton: Do you think there are any scouting services that have ever been paid to influence a kid to go to Texas?
Lyles: I guarantee there’s been high school coaches who have. I don’t know about scouting services. I know they deal with a few scouting services themselves. They actually used to be a client of mine when I was with MSLSports.net in 2007.
And when I didn’t want to steer kids their way [to Texas] that’s when the relationship became strained. That’s when they [Texas] began the vendetta against me personally.
Monday Oregon released emails between Lyles and the Oregon football staff concerning recruiting. In one such email sent to Oregon football staffer Jim Fisher on Jan. 24, 2011, Lyles forwarded a recruiting profile of Texas high school football prospect Matt Davis to the Oregon assistant director of football operations:
Two months ago Davis verbally committed to Texas A&M.
Oregon also recently released a 143-page document attributed to Lyles titled, “Complete Scouting Services 2010 National High School Evaluation Booklet.”
Though the front page of the “Complete Scouting Services” document from Lyles indicated the booklet was for 2010, each of the 140 profiles of individual high school football prospects in the “evaluation booklet” was titled, “2011″.
George Schroeder of the EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD reported of those 140 high school prospect profiles provided by Lyles’ Complete Scouting Services to Oregon:
At least 115 were from the class that graduated from high school in 2009. Three were from 2010 and one was from 2008. Class year was not available for several players.
It was also verified by Schroeder and other media members that the evaluation booklet sent to the Oregon football program by Lyles - in addition to a $25,000 purchase order/invoice dated Feb. 22, 2010 - contained no prospects identifiable as members of the 2011 recruiting class.
Of Lyles’ involvement with now-defunct MSLSports.net, which he confirmed in the Sunday interview with KCOH-AM’s Shelton, one of the player recruiting profiles submitted to Oregon by Lyles included the text: “MSL Sports.net Ranking“:
The remaining 139 profiles from Lyles to Oregon did not contain the “MSL Sports.net Ranking” text, a discrepancy which was first reported by SI.com’s Andy Staples.
Before Lyles started his Complete Scouting Services business, he previously worked for a company called Elite Scouting Services.
Here is an excerpt from the current “About” website page for Elite Scouting Services:
Our comprehensive scouting program is tailored precisely for your football programs needs. Our service not only provides you with in-depth information on the student athletes, but also creates relationships with players, their families, and coaches as well. Our video component and website allow you to access player information and highlight film from any computer. ESS will become an extension of your own coaching staff, a group of scouts that will recruit year round saving you precious time and money. Our goal is to dissect your immediate and long term recruiting needs and build a personalized service around your program.
Here is an excerpt from the current “About Us” page from the Complete Scouting Services 143-page prospect report sent to Oregon:
Our comprehensive scouting program is tailored precisely for your football programs needs. Our service not only provides you with in-depth information on the student athletes, but also creates relationships with players, their families, and coaches as well. Our video component and website allow you to access player information and highlight film from any computer. CSS will become an extension of your own coaching staff, a group of scouts that will recruit year round saving you precious time and money. Our goal is to dissect your immediate and long term recruiting needs and build a personalized service around your program.
Here’s an image comparing the Complete Scouting Services “About Us” document sent by Lyles to Oregon to the website page of Lyles former employer Elite Scouting Services labeled “About”:
On March 4, 2011, NCAA associate director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism activities Angie Cretors sent an email to Oregon Executive Assistant Director, Compliance Bill Clever. An image of that email and a text excerpt from it is below:
Per our discussion this morning, we wanted to follow-up with an on records and documents that we are currently requested. Below is a list of those records that we are requesting related to the University of Oregon football program:
1) All official/unofficial visit records from past two years
2) Recruiting logs for past 2 years
3) All documentation (contracts, invoices, billing statements, correspondence, services provided)
pertaining to institution’s use of scouting services for the past two years.
4) Detailed accounting of ínstitution’s financial records related to Will Lyles, Baron Flenory, Complete Scouting, New Level Athletics, and Speed Dynamics and all other scouting services.
“Speed Dynamics” was the name of a Houston-based, speed-training operation for athletes originated by Lyles in the mid-’90s before he joined MSLSports.net, Elite Scouting Services and started Complete Scouting Services.
The Oregon football program and athletic department has yet to comment publicly on any of the documents released by the school Monday.